Didier Reynders

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Person.png Didier Reynders   IMDB InstagramRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs (44866389735) (cropped).jpg
Born6 August 1958
Alma materUniversity of Liège
Member ofEuropean Council on Foreign Relations
Belgian FM/European Commissioner for Justice accused of corruption

Employment.png European Commissioner for Justice

In office
1 December 2019 - Present

Employment.png Belgium/Minister of Foreign Affairs

In office
6 December 2011 - 30 November 2019

Employment.png Belgium/Minister of Defence

In office
9 December 2018 - 30 November 2019

Employment.png Belgium/Minister of Finance

In office
12 July 1999 - 6 December 2011

Didier Reynders is a Belgian politician and a member of the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) serving as European Commissioner for Justice since 2019. He held various positions in public institutions before becoming a member of the House in 1992. He was a minister without interruption from 1999 to 2019, until resigning to become Belgian European Commissioner.

He was Federal Minister of Finance until December 2011 in six different governments, then Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade Foreign Affairs and European Affairs in two governments. Following the government crisis of December 2018, he was also appointed to the post of Minister of Defense until November 2019.[1][2]

In 2012, Didier Reynders visited the Saudi Prince Nayef Al Shaalan, sentenced since 2007 by France to ten years in prison in absentia for cocaine trafficking, and suspected of links with terrorist organizations in Syria. Didier Reynders refused to answer RTBF journalists' questions about this affair.[3]

Early life and education

Reynders was born in Liège as the youngest in a family of three children. He studied law at the University of Liège.

Early career

Reynders began his career as a lawyer in 1981, before serving as Chairman of the National Railway Company of Belgium from 1986 to 1991.[4]

Political career

Minister of Finance, 1999–2011

Reynders served as Minister of Finance from 1999 to 2011; in 2002, he chaired the G-10 which is the meeting of the main creditor states (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States).[5]

Reynders became Deputy Prime Minister in 2004, in the government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. He was the chairman of the Mouvement Réformateur from 2004 to 2011.

Reynders led the MR to a victory in the 2007 general elections, with the MR becoming the largest Francophone party of Belgium. The King appointed Reynders as informateur, i.e. to start off the informal coalition talks for a new federal government.[6]

Stalemate followed the 2010 general election. The King appointed a succession of people to negotiate a coalition from June 2010 onwards, but none succeeded in the task of forming a new government during the following seven months. Reynders was appointed informateur by the King on 2 February 2011. He reported on 16 February 2011, and his brief was extended through 1 March 2011.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2011–2019

Following the appointment of Elio Di Rupo as new Belgian Prime Minister in December 2011, Reynders became Minister of Foreign Affairs. During his tenure, Belgium was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (2019–2020), as well as of the United Nations Human Rights Council (2016–2018).

Minister of Defence, 2018–2019

After the ruling coalition collapsed in 2019, Reynders also held responsibility for the defense portfolio.[7] Following an inconclusive election in May 2019, King Philippe asked Reynders and Johan Vande Lanotte to look into the conditions required for forming a coalition government.[8]

European Commissioner for Justice, 2019–present

In the summer of 2019, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel put Reynders forward as the Belgian nominee for the incoming European Commission. President-elect Ursula von der Leyen nominated him for the Justice portfolio. Reynders did his hearing at the European Parliament in September 2019 and his nomination was approved by a large majority. He took office on 1 December 2019.

Other activities

International organisations

Non-profit organisations


In April 2017, Belgium voted in favour of the entry of Saudi Arabia, yet considered one of the most retrograde countries on the issue of women's rights, in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. This decision raised controversy and questions about the role of Reynders.[12]

In 2019, Reynders announced his candidacy to succeed Thorbjørn Jagland as Secretary General of the Council of Europe;[13] the position instead went to Marija Pejčinović Burić.

In September 2019, Nicolas Ullens de Schooten, former agent of the Sûreté de l’État - the Belgian intelligence service - accused Didier Reynders of having received bribes in public procurement cases[14]. With the help of his right-hand man, he is said to have laundered the money received by selling works of art at a premium price or by carrying out real estate transactions, but also by using front companies.[15] He also cited corrupters, such as arms dealers, and a candidate for the Congolese presidential election (see below). The investigation was closed a few days later.

Criminal investigation

In September 2019, Belgian police investigated allegations of corruption and money-laundering against Reynders, relating to the construction of the Belgian embassy building in Kinshasa, the lease of a federal police HQ and other matters.[16] The investigation was dropped soon after.[17]


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/20222 June 20225 June 2022US
Washington DC
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The 68th Bilderberg Meeting, held in Washington DC, after an unprecedented two year hiatus during which a lot of the Bilderberg regulars were busy managing COVID-19
Brussels Forum/2012Belgium
Yearly discreet get-together of huge amount of transatlantic politicians, media and military and corporations, under the auspices of the CIA-close German Marshall Fund.
Brussels Forum/201421 March 201424 March 2014Belgium
Yearly discreet get-together of huge amount of transatlantic politicians, media and military and corporations, under the auspices of the CIA-close German Marshall Fund. The theme in 2014 was A World in Transition
Brussels Forum/201520 March 201522 March 2015Germany
North Rhine-Westphalia
Yearly discreet get-together of huge amount of transatlantic politicians, media and military and corporations, under the auspices of the CIA-close German Marshall Fund. The 2015 main theme was (R)evolution.
Brussels Forum/201723 March 201725 March 2017Belgium
Yearly discreet get-together of huge amount of transatlantic politicians, media and military and corporations, under the auspices of the CIA-close German Marshall Fund. The overarching theme was "‘End of Complacency – Era of Action?"
Brussels Forum/2018Belgium
Yearly discreet get-together of huge amount of transatlantic politicians, media and military and corporations, under the auspices of the CIA and NATO-close German Marshall Fund.


  1. http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/mopdf/2008/03/21_2.pdf
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20150216113305/http://affairstoday.co.uk/6-questions-with-didier-reynders-2/
  3. https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_didier-reynders-a-rencontre-un-prince-saoudien-condamne-pour-trafic-de-drogue?id=7895134
  4. https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/about_the_organisation/ministers/minister_didier_reynders/curriculum_vitae
  5. http://www.hec.fr/europe-symposium/index.php?id=reynders_didier HEC Europe
  6. http://www.vrtnieuws.net/cm/flandersnews.be/News/2.728/070613_informateur
  7. https://www.politico.eu/article/didier-reynders-belgium-european-commission/
  8. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-belgium-politics/belgian-king-appoints-two-advisers-to-find-path-toward-coalition-government-idUSKCN1T02BT
  9. https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/institutional-document/31326/adb-annual-report-2005.pdf 2005 Annual Report
  10. https://www.ebrd.com/downloads/research/annual/ar05a.pdf 2005
  11. http://www.ecfr.eu/council/members Members
  12. https://www.lesoir.be/art/1491769/article/actualite/belgique/politique/2017-04-27/arabie-saoudite-et-droit-des-femmes-l-onu-charles-michel-regrette-oui-be
  13. https://www.coe.int/en/web/baku/-/election-of-the-secretary-general-of-the-council-of-europe-candidatures-received
  14. https://www.lalibre.be/belgique/politique-belge/l-ex-agent-secret-qui-accuse-didier-reynders-de-corruption-sort-de-l-ombre-5d82893ad8ad5878fd541e07
  15. http://archive.wikiwix.com/cache/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lecho.be%2Feconomie-politique%2Fbelgique%2Fgeneral%2Fle-parquet-enquete-sur-des-allegations-de-corruption-visant-didier-reynders%2F10162446.html
  16. Arthur Neslen (14 September 2019), Didier Reynders, Belgium’s Commission pick, under police investigation Politico Europe.
  17. Simon van Dorpe (27 September 2019), Belgian prosecutors drop investigation into Didier Reynders Politico Europe.